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IPL desk in Mumbai 29 April 2012 - 08:05pm IST

Report: Match 39 – DD v RR

Delhi Daredevils clinch thrilling one-run win over Rajasthan Royals

The Delhi Daredevils truly lived up to their name, scripting an extraordinary one-run victory over the Rajasthan Royals at home. The hosts were never in the game for 38 overs. They scored a modest 152 and didn’t have the RR batsmen in any trouble for most part of the chase. But two last overs of thorough discipline and fire from Morne Morkel and Umesh Yadav got them an unlikely win.

Morkel had the ball when the visitors required an easy 15 runs from 12 balls. He unleashed an array of fast yorkers to concede only three runs and pick up the all-important wicket of Brad Hodge off the last ball of the penultimate over. Yadav managed to defend the remaining 12 runs in the last over, thereby helping DD continue their dominance in the tournament.

RR’s chase of 153 began with the now-familiar elegance of the Dravid-Rahane duo. Such was the purity of the shots played that at times one forgot this was the high-octane, fast-scoring Twenty20 format. Rahul Dravid did what he is known for since the last 15 years – playing those copybook cover drives, back-foot punches, flicks and pulls.

Dravid’s innings was not short of drama. On one occasion he, very uncharacteristically gave a piece of his mind to Morne Morkel, who was on the way to his delivery stride. A few overs later, he pulled a muscle while completing a run and was down wincing in pain. Shortly after he got up and resumed the innings, there was confusion in the umpire’s mind on a caught behind appeal by Irfan Pathan; Dravid survived it. The end to his knock was no less dramatic as Ajit Agarkar plucked a stunner at long-on. Dravid departed for 40 off 38 balls.

Ajinkya Rahane brought out another gem from his bat to take the Orange Cap away from Virender Sehwag, who earned it in the first innings of the match. He once again, took a page out of his idol’s book and played some of the most beautiful shots en route to a half-century. In the process, he also became the first batsman in IPL 2012 to cross the 400-run mark.

The Royals needed early breakthroughs to prevent the Daredevils from running away with the game from the get-go. Ankeet Chavan and Pankaj Singh did just that by getting rid of Mahela Jayawardene and Kevin Pietersen inside first three overs.

Rahul Dravid thrust young Chavan to open the bowling and placed himself at first slip. The left-arm spinner responded by getting an edge of Pietersen’s bat, which went straight into the safe hands of his skipper. Jayawardene fell trying to play an uppish flick off Pankaj Singh, who also ended Ross Taylor’s scratchy knock of 25 off 35 balls.

What the RR bowlers couldn’t do, though, was prevent Sehwag from becoming the first batsman to score four consecutive half-centuries in the IPL. Sehwag continued with his new strategy of combining caution with aggression that took him to the top of the run-getters list in the tournament – until Rahane’s knock later in the game. However, Sehwag’s prolific form meant he could dispatch even decent balls to the fence without any risk.

The Indian opener unleashed some delicate flicks early on, before going in full attack mode. Against the left-arm spinner Chavan, he even employed the reverse-sweep – a shot he very rarely brings out. Brad Hogg, who is one of the stingiest bowlers in the tournament so far, wasn’t spared either. He was pulled and lofted straight for a four and a six.

Besides Sehwag (63 off 39 balls), the vaunted DD batting failed to click in unison. The rest of his team added only 89 runs off 81 balls. That figure too would’ve been worse had it not been for the last over bowled by Amit Singh, in which DD scored 20 runs.

Scorecard:

Man-of-the-Match: Virender Sehwag for his match-winning innings of 63 (8x4; 2x6) off 39 balls, which was his fourth consecutive half-century of IPL 2012

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